Iraq receives bodies of 16 drowned Kurdish migrants
| Local News | Usa news
The bodies of 16 Kurdish migrants who drowned as they tried to cross the Channel last month have been repatriated to northern Iraq
The November 24 disaster, in which 27 migrants died, has been described as the worst on record involving migrants trying to cross the perilous passage to Britain from France. The boat capsized off the coast of northern France, triggering a political crisis. Britain and France have accused each other of not doing enough to deter people from crossing the Channel.
Dozens of mourners waited at the international airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Erbil on Sunday, where the plane carrying the bodies arrived. Relatives were grieved when the coffins were transported by ambulance to their hometown for burial.
The repatriations came amid a new tragedy involving migrants from the Middle East seeking new life in Europe. The Libyan Red Crescent said on Sunday that at least 27 bodies of migrants bound for Europe, including a baby and two women, were stranded in the west of the country.
A disproportionate number of Middle Eastern migrants attempting to reach Europe in recent times have been from the Kurdish region of Iraq. Although northern Iraq is more prosperous than the rest of the conflict-affected country, growing unemployment and frustration with corruption make many consider the risky trip.
Among the bodies returned on Sunday was that of 24-year-old Maryam Nouri, called Baran by friends and family. She perished during the illicit and ill-fated voyage across the Channel in the hope of reuniting with her fiance in Britain. The fragile boat sank a few miles (kilometers) from the French coast. At least 27 migrants bound for Britain have drowned. France’s interior minister called it the biggest migratory tragedy involving the crossing to date.
Other bodies included those of Shakar Ali, Sarkawt Pirot and Avrasiya Ahmad, from Ranya district of Sulaymaniyah governorate in the Kurdish-ruled region of Iraq.
Hundreds of family and friends attended a ceremony in the city to pay their final respects.
Relatives said the three had tried to have a better life in Europe because they had not been able to find jobs in Iraq.
Shakar Ali “graduated from the petroleum department of the University of Geology, which is an indispensable department for this country. But unfortunately after many attempts – and we even paid people money to find him a job, but he couldn’t get one, “said his brother Haval Ali.
“A lot of his colleagues, those who have connections, found work, except for my brother … so he decided to migrate abroad.”
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